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Enjoy a 15-day itinerary sailing across the Drake Passage to Charcot and Peter I Island, a small volcanic island where very few people have visited. A once-in-a-lifetime expedition with Ponant and National Geographic onboard the brand-new Le Commandant Charcot.
Landing on Peter I Island is like landing on the moon. In fact, fewer people have visited this small volcanic island located in the Bellingshausen Sea, 450km from the Antarctic coastlines, than have set foot on lunar soil!
This unusual itinerary will also provide an opportunity to approach Charcot Island, thus named by Captain Charcot in memory of this father during its discovery in 1910. On this cruise, you'll enjoy the company of a National Geographic Photographer and an Expert. Be among the few people on earth who have visited these unique islands.
A cruise in partnership with National Geographic Expeditions offering enrichment with a National Geographic Photographer and Expert onboard
Visit two islands beyond the Polar Antarctic Circle, that few have visited before
Outings and shore visits on Zodiacs
Wildlife: humpback whales, gentoo penguins, Weddell seals
Included activities such as Hovercraft, hot air balloon and snowmobiles
Lectures and information sessions hosted by naturalist-guides
Day 1: Ushuaia
Days 2 & 3: Crossing the Drake Passage
Day 4: Crossing the Antarctic Circle
Day 5: Detaille Island
Day 6: The Gullet
Day 7: Pourquoi Pas Island
Day 8: Marguerite Bay
Days 9 & 10: Expedition to Charcot Island
Days 11 & 12: Expedition to Peter I Island
Day 13: At Sea
Day 14: The Gullet
Day 15: Crossing the Drake Passage
Day 16: Ushuaia
Arrive in the capital of Argentina's Tierra del Fuego province. Ushuaia is considered the gateway to the White Continent and the South Pole. Embark your ship here, ready to set sail in the early evening.
Use your days spent crossing the Drake Passage to familiarise yourself with your beautiful ship, Le Commandant Charcot and deepen your knowledge of the Antarctic. Lectures about the history and wildlife of the region will be an opportunity for you to learn more about this magical region, where every cruise is a unique experience. From the ship's bridge, experience exceptional sailing moments and look out for albatrosses, cape petrels and other seabirds from the deck.
Weather permitting, your ship will cross the Antarctic Circle. This iconic area demarcates the point from which it is possible to view the midnight sun during the December solstice. Within the circle, the sun remains above the horizon for 24 consecutive hours at least once a year. Crossing this line, an experience known to few people, is sure to be an unforgettable highlight of your cruise.
Detaille Island is a small island situated off the Loubet Coast in the Crystal Sound, a magnificent region surrounded by snow-covered peaks. A British research station was set up there in 1956. With the island difficult to access, the station was shut down in 1959. The vestiges of the buildings and sledge dog pens that made it possible to map more than 4,000 miles around the island are now maintained by the UK Heritage Trust.
The sumptuous landscapes of this narrow channel between Adelaide Island and Graham Land attract all visitors sailing towards Marguerite Bay. It is like an ice palace, its immaculate white walls reflected in the frozen mirror formed by the waters of the Southern Ocean, scattered with icebergs and gleaming blocks of ice. This passage was explored for the first time by the Jean-Baptiste Charcot expedition in 1909, which sketched its position. It was then surveyed in 1936 by the British expedition under John Rymill. It is here in this magical setting that some of the first subaquatic images of the Antarctic were shot during Philippe Costeau's four-month expedition to Antarctica between 1972 and 1973.
Le Commandant Charcot will land on the coast of Pourquoi Pas Island, so named in the 1930s by John Riddoch Rymill in honour of Jean-Baptiste Charcot, who discovered it from aboard his ship. This mountainous island, situated in the north of Marguerite Bay between Graham Island and Adelaide Island, is 28km long and 14km large. It is scattered with narrow fjords and snow-covered mountains. You will go on shore in a Zodiac today with your Expedition Team and get the chance to observe Adelie penguins on the island's rocky shores.
The icebergs are each more majestic than the next and scattered around the deep and intense blue waters of Marguerite Bay. Charcot named it after his wife during his second expedition to the Antarctic between 1908 and 1910. The bay is home to a number of cetaceans and you may get the chance to observe leopard seals or Adelie penguins.
When he discovered this island surrounded by sea ice in 1910, Jean-Baptist Charcot had not been able to get less than 40 miles away from it. Situated in a zone that experiences frequent low-pressure systems and regular cloud cover, the island remains in many ways an enigma. It is entirely covered in ice and sheer cliffs, with the exception of the rocky outcrops extending over a dozen kilometres in the far north-west. The ice in the narrowest part of Wilkins Sound has been cracking in recent times, thus officially detaching this island from its neighbour, Alexander island. Very few people have landed on this largely untouched island, whose waters attract numerous seabirds, such as petrels, Antarctic terns and skuas.
Today you will head for the legendary Peter I Island. Located 450km away from the Atlantic coast, it was discovered in 1821 by the Russian explorer Fabian Gottlieb von Bellingshausen, who named it in honour of the Russian tsar Peter the Great. Surrounded by pack ice and with about 95% of its surface covered by ice, this volcanic island, whose highest peak reaches 1,640 metres, is protected by ice cliffs some 40m tall, making any approach difficult.
Spend exceptional moments sailing aboard Le Commandant Charcot, the world's first luxury polar exploration vessel and the first PC2-class polar cruise ship capable of sailing into the very heart of the ice. Take advantage of onboard lectures and opportunities for discussion with the specialists to learn more about the polar regions. Participate in furthering scientific research with Ponant and discover what these fascinating destinations have yet to reveal to us.
Today you will sail back along the Gullet as your ship makes its way towards the Drake Passage and Ushuaia
Situated at the latitude of the infamous Furious Fifties winds, between Cape Horn and the South Shetland Islands, the Drake Passage is the shortest route to connect Antarctica to South America. Seasoned navigators will tell you that you must earn your visit to the White Continent! Don't forget to look to the sky to catch a glimpse of elegant albatross and Cape Petrels, playfully floating about in the wind around your ship.
Today you will arrive back in Argentina in the early morning ready for an 8 am disembarkation and your return journey home.
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